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‘Is ghosting acceptable? It’s a yes from me’

Attitude columnist James Barr discusses when it's ok to ghost a friend

By James Barr

James Barr
James Barr (Image: Corinne Cumming)

Devoting a significant part of my life to advocating for queer rights has equipped me with a new, no-nonsense attitude, particularly when it comes to tolerating negativity and bullshit. I used to be overly concerned about everyone’s opinions, prioritising their happiness over my own, allowing others to drag me down. But post-breakup, after navigating some difficult emotions, I’ve realised that my well-being is non-negotiable.

In restructuring my life, I’ve adopted a new mantra: be where you’re happy, engage in uplifting conversations, and surround yourself with positive influences.

So, how do you break up with a friend who makes you feel ‘less than’? Is ghosting acceptable? It’s a yes from me. Writing an article about it, even if the friend might read it, might seem less acceptable, but consider it a trailblazing move. Despite genuine affection for my friend, I recently confronted the reality that during my challenging year, he remained uninterested in my healing and actively criticised me.

People may sometimes try to control you, concealing their criticism behind a ‘saviour’ dynamic. “I’m worried about you, you’re being a slut,” is coercive and controlling. It’s more likely that you’re enjoying a safer, satisfying sex life, and your friend has an unresolved level of shame they haven’t worked on. Maybe it’s time to serve them and their shame back to them by walking away.

So, when my friend started another argument over WhatsApp, I decided to archive our chat and LET. IT. GO. Engaging in a lengthy, hurtful back-and-forth is far too draining. If someone in your life is trying to keep you in a place you’ve outgrown, ghosting them is ok. It’s OK to leave them where they were as you climb on to where you’re going.

This feature first appeared in Attitude’s January/February issue (356) which is out now.